Green's Hill-Amy Lane's Home - News

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Would you believe...

I got home on Friday and my mom called up and wanted to take the kids today? All day? They get to spend the night? DUDES!!! Did you know I've got a HUSBAND? News to me, too--but he has all these nifty ideas about what to do with our time...I may take him up on them.

So, I've been on the computer for two days--I showed movies and entered grades and graded stuff and, you know, did my job. Grading papers is so depressing. I've either got to start teaching these guys better or quit. I tend to focus on literature, you know? But seriously, their writing is so damned bad--and then I feel bad. I feel like if I'd taken more of a writing focus, they wouldn't sound illiterate. And then I realize that I teach 11th and 12th graders--their poor teachers have been trying to teach them this shit for's not just me, I do suck, but I'm not the optimum prime queen bitch manipulator behind their collective suckage, and dammit, next year I've got a PLAN!!! (I do this at the end of every year--I always have a plan for how to serve them better. Somewhere in the middle of the year--usually about the time I realize that I may not love them as much as I thought I did, and that my own children are far more charming-- it disintegrates like a letter in a bathtub, but there's still a PLAN.)

I got my hair cut--several of them in fact! (yuk yuk yuk--it's my dad's favorite joke!) and I like it. Usually it's a rabid squirrel, but at the moment, the rabid squirrel has taken several valium and a snooze on my head, and I don't hate him quite so much. If I could lose a whole lot of weight, I might be able do deal with myself in the mirror, yes?

We went and saw Iron Man today--I LOVED IT. Totally. Completely. I'm gonna buy it in dvd form and lick the television set when the kids are all asleep (because we wouldn't want them to grow up disturbed or anything!). And may I just say, that Robert Downey Jr. is supreme proof that life isn't fucking fair? If I had done as many drugs as this guy did, I'd be a toothless hag with more wrinkles than brain cells and sentient foot-fungus. Downey Jr.? He's a frickin' GOD, in a ripped T-shirt with a glowing blue medallion. I mean, here I am, barely pinging 'unrepulsive' on the appearance scale, and my only real vice is too much chocolate and an abhorrence of cooking. This guy does everything that's evil, adds a little Grecian formula to his hair, and hey, did I mention, he's a fucking god? *sigh* Yeah. And now that he's cleaned up his act and become a good father and everything, I can't even hold it against him. I mean, I bet his kids don't have to excavate the living room to find the damned remote control, do they?

And following an absolutely hilarious discussion on the forum regarding 'mutilated male junk' (i.e., circumcision and the three-thousand year old vampire:-) I came upon an entry on this blog--you'll have to scroll down, it's the one about retail therapy with the disclaimer about how this entry will make you buy a kitten instead of becoming a mother. Seriously, people? I almost spit soda all over my keyboard. Then I went into the staff room and threw that baby at the wussies who objected to the silver anus/purple prose awards and when the king of the staff room stood up and said, "Goddammit, Lane, you had to go and fucking do that when the bell rang?" I LAUGHED MY FUCKING ASS OFF. *sigh* It's the end of the year, and I think I found my balls, thank you very much. Oh, babies, didja miss me?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

One liners...

I've been surrounded by them, and I'm trying to think of some of the zingers that have set Mate or I off in the last couple of days.

* I don't know what T was watching--I've either forgotten or blocked it out. But a couple of nights ago he came up to me while I was knitting and watching television and said "Mom, what's semen?"

Now, he knows the facts of life--I'm thinking this was just a vocabulary glitch, but it didn't stop me from replying with a straight face, "Fish, honey. Really small fish." Mate had to pick himself off the ground to give him the real answer, and when he did, T smacked himself on the forehead--yeah, he'd known all along.

And then he got the part about the fish.

* Today we were reviewing parts of Great Gatsby, and when (with some serious explaining from yours truly) it finally dawned on my students that Gatsby was willing to take the fall for Daisy, but she was dumping him for her faithless man-beast who was richer than Dog, they were suitably disgusted.

"Yup," said one girl (a very bright, well dressed girl who shows up occasionally to turn in her work, earn her B, and dish about guys), "That there's the Power of the Pussy. Just because you have it don't mean you've got to use it."

What could I say? She'd nailed the book completely.

* The last time she said it, she got such a positive response that she decided to try it again-- Ladybug was reaching for one of her brother's toys, and when I told her "No" she thought she'd go with "Nasty? Disgusting?"

"No," I told her, laughing, "It's Cave Troll's!"

She smiled, an evil little gap-toothed smile if you must know the truth. "No," she said, "Mine." And then she snagged it, ran away laughing, and much hilarity ensued.

* A student--a nice kid who's fairly chatty, but still, a nice kid, attempted to veer the conversation off topic one day, and got punked.

"Mando, would you stop flirting with Mara!" I reprimanded.
"Geez, Mz. Lane--I've had Mara for so many years--I had her in the seventh grade!"
Of course he meant 'Had her in my class' but that didn't stop my smart-ass disease from kicking in.
"Do you really think she wants you just blurting out her business like that, Mando? If you 'had' her in the seventh grade, that might be something she wants to forget!"
It took him all period to live it down.

* "Yeah," I sighed to our new principal, "Teaching 1984 is the hardest. I really want them to read and understand the book, because one of the most important things I can give them is the opportunity to question authority. Unfortunately, I have to get over the hypocrisy of making them sit down, dammit, and shut the hell up so they can listen to me tell them how to question fuckin' authority!!!!"

And other than that? Two more Mondays to go, people--I'm starting to look forward to vacation--and part time. Part time scares me. I"m going to have to be smart with money, and I suck at it, but I think it will SO be worth it.

And thank you all, as well, for the support regarding Cave Troll--believe me, after dealing with Big T's CH stuff, I definitely know that every kid has his or her own way to learn. The Cave Troll just takes setbacks so badly--I'm really hoping the distraction etc. is just a phase or something, because of all the ways kids get over obstacles, the one that hurts everybody most is the "Kicking it and screaming at it until it disintegrates under pressure" technique, and unfortunately, that's the Cave Troll's favorite.

BTW--I gave Kewyn's counterpart in Bitter Moon (Cwyn) the nickname 'Terror', and I'm thinking of changing his name on the blog--what do you think? Terror and Ladybug? Or should I keep it to Cave Troll? (Or maybe I could be ubersweet and call him 'dimples' because he's got a set of cuties you could fall into when he smiles!) Let me know what ya think!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

School and Family

It's been sort of a weird day--it's been the sort of day where most of my students have given me a reason to want to be here. Except my 6th period, of course, but then, I'll have to content myself with the sad fact that I'll probably outlive most of the kids that are giving me most of the grief. And since I'm pretty sure I'm having a better time than they are, even as old and decrepit as I am, I think that's a decent trade off, don't you?

I actually told one of the young sweet things in the English department that I wished I was nineteen again--I mean sure, I was bulimic and I didn't know jack shit about Jack's shit, but, damn, my body wasn't falling apart in measurable increments, now was it? But other than the whole foot fiasco, today hasn't been bad at all, really.

One of the things I've been musing about, though, has been Ladybug and Cave Troll. Cave Troll went in for his Kindergarten diagnostic a couple of weeks ago, and the conclusion was that he didn't recognize numbers or letters, and that this is a skill he needs for Kindergarten. His babysitter says that she's been working with him on this, but that it just doesn't seem to register with him, which worries me. We joke about him being hyperactive, but I'm starting to wonder if maybe there isn't something at work there--I've been telling Mate that his attention span/concentration ratio just seems to be off, and last night I was reading an alphabet book and a counting book to him and his sister, instead of the Boynton books which are my usual favorites.

Ladybug's skills are higher than his.

No, seriously--she not only counted to ten, she knew what the number looked like. She identified as many if not more letters than he did. Her coloring skills are equal to his, and she understands colors enough to know that her favorite is pink and NOT yellow (even though the yarn that I bought on sale was yellow because it was prettier than the pink!) The Cave Troll just picked a favorite color a couple of months ago--bright red.

Now I've been telling my students for years that my kids were not super-geniuses--they seem to assume that because I'm a teacher and my husband's an engineer, some sort of dormant uber-gifted gene will breed true and square itself. No, I've told them, my kids are just like my husband and I--they are smart, yes, but mostly, they just work their asses off for their good grades.

The Cave Troll is going to have to work his baby ass off even more than Chicken, and maybe even as much as Big T.

Ladybug is going to rule the freakin world. If she doesn't burn it down first.

The future is looking VERY interesting--I'd better take care of myself and make sure I'm here to see it!

Monday, May 26, 2008

What do you mean, I haven't blogged today?

It's not like I've done much else!

The feet are acting up again, and if they're gonna act up, I wish they'd act like an exotic dancer's feet and get me somewhere cool, because this other thing is just pissing me off. Anyway, I spent a lot of my day with Ladybug on my lap, watching movies I'd seen before, or reading (a complete luxury!!!) or writing.

The writing part I'm particularly proud of--I wrote 10 pages today, and I was so involved with a rather poignant scene that, as I typed away, Mate looked up and said, "Oh my God, what's wrong!"

"N...nnn..nn...OOTTHING...." *sniffle sniffle sob*. "I'm ffffiiinnnee...."

But Mate, he gets me. I was having a 'Romancing the Stone' moment, and he could deal with that.

And other than that? Sweet tranquility! I'm so bad at memes--I didn't give out the rules or anything, I just tagged people randomly, and two of them answered...I should probably tell Siercia she's tagged, huh? (Sorry, sweetie...I've been distracted this weekend, mostly because if I'm breathing and talking, I'm distracted!)

Anyway, saw Indiana Jones--LOVED IT. It could be just because, well, you know, right? It could be that for my 14th birthday, I got to go see Raiders of the Lost Ark with my best friend, and my older kids are 13 and 15 and isn't that cool? And it could be because Mate and I snuck out of the house and watched a @##$%%ing movie--either way, I enjoyed myself immensely--hope you all enjoy it too!

And knitting? I mean, this is a knitting blog right? Well, after a lovely and rare case of 'finishitis' during which I finished my friend's sportweight socks (One of my favorite bits of instant gratification EVER) and the fingerless mitts, and got damned close to my aunt's vanilla socks...well, I fell of the wagon and cast on two different pairs of socks with a pattern--one's a basketweave affair from the Charlene Schurch books, and the other's gonna be Chicken Toes redux, and I love them both, even if I don't finish them again until Christmas! And on the 'knitting for kids who ask nice' front, the kid who asked for a hat with a 'phat cable' on it has been forced to move out on his own. He's a good kid, but I worry about those kids, and I'm thinking that maybe, instead of a hat with a 'phat cable' I'll make him a quickie Lion Brand scrap blanket instead. He may not like it quite as much, but it'll be machine washable and I"m sure he'll get more use out of it. His mother has let go of all responsibility, right? Shouldn't someone step up, even if it's for something tiny?

And...that's about it. I should update the webpage sometime in the next couple of weeks--it's been, like MONTHS since I last did that!!! But what can I say? My house is still a mess, the kids are still cute, and I slept a lot this weekend. I mean, it's a personal headline for ME, but for everybody else, it's pretty damned soporific! Sorry about that, folks, I'll try to be entertaining tomorrow!!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Whatnots and Memes

First of all, thank you! Do not worry if you didn't feel the same way about the prologue as the other posters--that's why I sent it out, to get a variety of opinions. I"m going to clarify some things, and if it makes a difference, let me know.

1. Torrant and Yarri both live through the action of the book. They return home, stitch together their hearts, and continue their lives.
2. Yarri's death occurs after the main action ends, and before the 'thirty years in the future begins'--they get three 'post war' years together. Her death will be described briefly in the epilogue.
3. If this makes the narrative overlay less of a 'spoiler' (especially if I tweak it so that it's clear they had some happy years) let me know.

Second of all--I work with a bunch of total wussies. (Yes, that means you, you know who you are!!!) I was reading this blog during lunch, and when I came in a little late and told my colleagues that I was voting on the 'silver anus/purple prose' contest, they got all shocked and bothered. Holy Carp, Fishman, have men never heard of housewife porn? (They also seemed to find some irony in the fact that, in a room known for it's foulness, the one person who could bring down the house was a mother of four who was knitting at the time. Yeah, I could enjoy that a little.)

Third of all--the Meme.

I actually got tagged for this one twice, once by Knittech and once by Louiz, and so, I felt as though I must-must finish this me-me. I'll put and link the folks I tag--I'm gonna try and tag some folks whose blogs I should read more often, because I'm trying to expand my little circle of friends here. (It's hard--it takes time, but I'm getting the hang of 'expanding'.)

1. Ten years ago I was... working in this same crappy job, except I enjoyed it a lot more. We were getting ready to move into the Lane crapmansion and thinking about getting a dog. We had an entirely different set of cats.

2. Five things on today's to do list:

* write after school
* go to the bathroom (also after school, when it's deserted and I've got five minutes to myself.)
* start an afghan for a student--quickie style
* chaperone a dance
* sing night-night to my kids

3. Things I'd do if I were a billionaire:
pay bills, move to a classier crapmansion with my very own yarn-room, write books full time
4. Three bad habits:

I spend money like a drunken monkey with a cash card
I eat like an elephant on leave from a fat farm
I fail to control my tongue (or my typing) when the matter calls for professionalism. (That 'these students are the amoebas in Satan's dysentery' memo is going to haunt me for a while.)
I have no concept of time ever.
I would rather eat out than cook.
I would rather knit or write than clean.

And I could go on. I'm not a good person. We know that.

5. Five places I've lived: (This one is just so sad!!!)
Loomis, CA (with mom & dad)
Orangevale, CA (with dad)
San Carlos, CA (with grandma while I was going to school in San Francisco)
Carmichael, CA (with Mate, while attending C.S.U. Sacramento)
Ophir, CA (with Mate, when the tall people were short, and he was going to school.)

Seriously, people--can you see why I get all excited about people in other states/countries/planets? My senior quote in the yearbook was, "Most of the really exciting places I've been are in my mind. I don't know if anyone would recognize them if they went there." Who knew it would be a frickin' prophecy, yeah?

Anyway, I tag Galad
and Donna Lee (she can pass this one off to Em if she wants:-)

Have fun, and have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Since you all insist...

(and thank you so much for insisting...)

Okay, here's the deal.

I talked a lot about 'Goddess Stories' in the first book--and not at all in the second. I did this on purpose. I wanted to prep everybody for 'Triane's Son' and 'Oueant's Son' to be in their own Goddess story, so to speak.

And then I wondered how many people would see that, and how many people would think I was just being REALLY inconsistent.

So I decided on a narrative overlay--starting with a prologue, of about five pages, in which we see our characters 'Oueant's Son' and 'Triane's Son' thirty years after their adventures in Clough have concluded, surrounded by their children and grandchildren, telling the story of 'Triane's Son Reigning'.

I like the idea--my problem is,
A. Will people freak out because I basically give away some of the ending in the first 5 pages
B. I give away that even the 'happy ending' shown at the end of the book is not 'happy ever after', but that one of the characters dies between the end of the book and the beginning of the prologue. There's a reason for this (in fact, several, if after the LG series concludes people seem to want a BMoonIII) but I'm just wondering if it will put people off too much, and
C. How much of the narrative overlay is good storytelling, and how much will just be precious, obvious foreshadowing.

Okay, granted, C is my own baby to feed, and I'm hoping my editors (Ceri, Roxie, Eric, Bonnie, are we still on? Ceri, I know you'll be back from Fiji by then, happy and tan from fun in the sand!) will kick me in the pants if it gets to sappy, but the other's a good idea right?

Wait... do you guys want to see it in action?

Okay then... here:


Goddess Stories

The Healer sat in the waning twilit hours of the Beltane Faire, watching the couples dancing in front of the bonfire in preparation for the wilding. His wife—his second, the mother of his youngest two adult children—came and wrapped her arms around his shoulders, touching her cheek to his.

“They’re all waiting,” she murmured, not wanting to look into his eyes. The pain was there, all of it, as fresh as it must have been thirty years before, when he’d first left her, as bloody as it had been, five years after that, when she’d left him for the dark beyond the stars. Goddess, how she hated Beltane—not because he thought of her, because she’d never begrudge him memories of his first beloved, his moon destined, whom he’d loved since childhood. No, she hated it because on this day of renewal, of spring and of life, he unearthed all that pain, and lived the whole thing again.

He wiped his mouth with his hand and stood, his hazel eyes assuming that artificial brightness that she always associated with this moment, on this evening.

“You don’t have to do it again this year,” she said, taking his hand. He touched her cheek and smiled again, this one almost reaching his eyes.

“Of course I do,” he murmured. “It’s important. Besides—the little ones expect it.”

“The little ones just want a story and a song from their Pa-pa,” she snapped with bitterness that surprised them both. “This hurts you!”

“It should hurt me.” He ran a hand through his short hair, the salting of gray obscuring but not hiding the white crest at his temple. He’d wondered lately, watching himself age easily through the years, if he would have to dye his hair brown in order to show that mark of magic like the badge of honor it was. This morning he’d decided that just the fact that he’d never have to hide it again would be enough.

“That pain bought something important,” he continued, when she looked away and refused to answer.

“Well then,” she turned away sharply, angry at him for doing this to himself. Hadn’t he given enough?

“Hey!” He caught up to her and took her hand. “You knew this when you stayed.”

She eyed him sourly. “I’m not giving up twenty good years for this rotten tradition,” she said at last. “But I can’t watch you do it again. I can’t. Ellyot’s youngest isn’t feeling well…”

“All that sugar,” he smiled and she rolled her eyes in agreement.

“And Betsy’s baby is teething. I’ll take them to the house while you do this. I’ve heard it before.” Her mouth, which was usually wide and smiling in a narrow, pale face, was pinched together, but he thought he’d try one more time.

“It changes every year,” he said lightly, and her look grew even darker.

“No it doesn’t!” She hissed. “It never changes. ‘Oueant’s Son’, ‘Dueant’s Son’,
‘Triane’s Son’—none of it matters. What matters is that it was real, and that you lived, and that you and Aylan and Yarri and Aldam—everybody! You all did this. What matters is that you shed blood, not a little of it your own, to make this world a better place, and that you shed more of it every year when you go out and tell this story, and I’m sick of it!”

He smiled, the grooves in his mouth deepening, his dimple popping, and his lip curling up on one side. It was an absolutely lethal smile, and it had taken him a while to learn its power, but many women still fantasized about the lead Healer of Eiran.

He had only ever cared about two of them.

“Twenty years, my heart’s peace, twenty years you’ve heard this story, and you still don’t understand why it’s important that I tell it?”

She looked away. “You tell me then!”

“It needs to be remembered. That’s what’s important. We need to make sure that no one ever has to go out and live this story again.” His voice hardened, and his eyes flashed a glacial blue, terrible and at odds with the warmth that he practically radiated.

“Right,” she replied, her green eyes wide. She rarely saw that color anymore. “The little ones will be fine. I’ll stay and listen.”

That smile came back, and he swung it around to greet the family, all of them, gathered around the Moon’s traditional table. He had to wade his way through grandchildren in order to perch on the top of the table, and shoo a couple of the smaller ones off his lap.

Aylan did his own wading and handed him his old lute, and the Healer took it gratefully. It was old—it had belonged to Lane before him—and the wood was mellow and sweet with age and oil, and years of melancholy songs dancing across the strings.

“Thank you, Aylan.” For the first time a hint of uncertainty crossed the Healer’s face. “You’re staying, right?” There had been a few years, after Yarri’s death, and before Starren’s first wilding when the story hurt Aylan too much to stay. But he’d made his peace with it since then, and his and Starry’s children loved it almost more than Solstice gifts.

“Of course,” he said, with a killer smile of his own. Aylan’s smile had improved with time as well—the bitterness that had possessed it in his youth was completely gone now. “If I’m not here, you don’t tell it right.”

“Ha!” The Healer guffawed, secure now that Aylan would be there to see him through this. “If you’re not here, no one whines when the son of Oueant gets his due!”
Aylan’s look of disgust was enough to pull the last of the tears from Torrant’s heart, and he smiled at the older children for their approval. For the older three, Yarri’s children, this story, among others, was their best, most heart-full link to their mother. He wouldn’t give up this story, not for all the tears in the world.
Lane hobbled up, much of his weight on the pair of canes in his hand. He had been seated with the other elders, watching the sunset, but he too was faithful to the story as it was told at Beltane. Ellyot ran up with a stool for his Great Uncle Lane, and the older man sank onto it gratefully.

“Have you started yet, boy-o?” He asked. His voice had aged, and his beard was long and full and white now, but his eyes still twinkled their merry blue, nearly as sharp in what they saw as they had been in Torrant’s youth.

“Not yet, Uncle Lane. You know we can’t tell the story without you.” Torrant tuned a couple of strings then, and played a chord that proved his ear was still sound. Almost to himself he murmured, “I wish Aunt Bethen was here.”

“Oh she is, but she’s getting impatient. Now start!”

The rest of the family laughed, and Aylan’s youngest, a scant and scandalous six years old, piped up. “You’re going to tell the story of the Sons of the Three Moons, right Uncle Torrant?” The little boy’s hand was firmly entrenched in the hand of Ellyot’s youngest, as they had been since the little girl had been born. The sight of the two of them, so easily moon destined, so beautifully meant, made Torrant’s heart constrict with pain and joy.

“Absolutely, Djali,” he murmured. “Are we all ready? Do we all remember how it starts?”

His five children started the first verse, their voices falling in and out of harmony, but still strong. And when they were done singing, he began the story itself, the words changing as details sharpened and faded with the passage of years, but always, always, starting with the same image.

“A ruthless ruler, mad and powerful, had been persecuting Triane’s children for many years. One day, Triane’s Son, and his best friend, the son of Oueant, the moon of Honor, rode into the cursed city, to stop him.
They bore between the two of them, a terrible secret…”

Comments? Questions? What do you think?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Pieces, picking up...

* First of all, I"m overdue for a me-me from Knit-tech--I haven't forgotten you, darling, I'm just distracted. I'll get there:-)

* Second, I finally managed to post my package to my blogoversary winner--here's hoping she's not disappointed. She got signed books and yarn (the yarn was, fortunately, not signed;-) and some goodies for the kids. I liked doing that--I may have one every 100 posts or so!

* Thirdly, in addition to fingerless mitts, I also finished a pair of sportweight anklets for a friend of mine-Colinette Jitterbug, a yarn I REALLY love, but I need to go back to Samurai's color workshops to figure out again why blue dye is softer than green dye. It's true!

* Fourthly, I celebrated by casting on another pair of socks, this one with a pattern, but I'm not sure. The yarn is sort of obscure, and although I still love it, I'm not sure I love it as socks. I may rip out the socks and go for a baby sweater or's got this real earthy, homespun texture and the colors are stonewashed--like I said, I love it, but maybe not so much for socks.

* Fifthly, Chicken appreciated all of your good wishes--she's feeling much better, but I swear, if she yaks before she leaves for Australia, we're pumping her up with dramamine and giving her an extra-strength barf-bag. I don't think she can live with another heartbreak like this last one!

* Sixthly, we went to Mate's softball practice yesterday, and the short peoples got to play at the Stepford park with the water fountain. I hate Folsom. (Folsomites, forgive me--the people who read this blog are, odds on, probably not the people that bother me...) Let's just say that I always feel like I violated the weight limit/dress code just driving over the line from Citrus Heights. And none of the women want to talk at the park! I mean, seriously--who else is there to talk to--not the kids, they're going bananashit in the kid fountain, right? And there was this serious black-rubber stench coming upwind--I had to break into the most awkward conversation with a woman who looked at me like I had pitt-rott in order to confirm that wasn't just me, suffering from a brain bleed! All in all, it made me glad to be white-trash, because the other side of that picket fence looks REALLY BORING.

* Seventhly, I made a narrative breakthrough in Bitter Moon I, and I'm torn between wanting to chat about it in the blog and wanting to surprise people, and wanting to just present it to my cracker-jack editing team carte blanch and hoping they like it... all in all, this is why people have writing groups, and the hornet's nest of uncertainty in my gullet is almost as busy with their fuckalific stingers as it is when I just release a book. Shit.

* Eighthly, I've got two more Mondays to go. (And one Tuesday, because next week is Memorial Day.) We are officially close enough to summer vacation for me to get excited about it. And have I mentioned I'm taking no classes this summer? WWWWHHHHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And, uhm, that's about it. If anyone wants me to get neurotic about narrative technique and Bitter Moon II, let me know... I could use the sounding board!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Tired Bananas

Well, Fungus, god of podiatry has been partially appeased by two days of keeping my foot iced--I can walk again, and, in fact, went for a walk today, which felt wonderful. (Until I got back, that is, but we shall not speak of that.)

Of course, I got home soaked in sweat! Our temperature has like, wait, it, no, no, too mild a metaphor... it SPLANGED to the ceiling like a high-strung cat, and is now hovering there, in the 105s, claws dug into the blinding gold-blue sky, screaming sweat and oppression at us with every second.

No, no, no... that metaphor wasn't it either.

Doesn't matter. The heat sucks. I miss the high 70's, but I'd settle for a week in the mid 80's before we got stuck with the Nor-Cal Death Valley.

Anyway, after the usual--taking the short people to gymnastics, stopping at the LYS to show Babetta what I'd made (fingerless mitts--I shall upload the pictures someday, because they were beautiful, and I was proud) and dropping the aforementioned mitts off at their prospective owners--we came home and did Ladybug a solid: We unrolled the pool that has been in a box since last summer. We filled it with water and put the kids in it until they practically stewed! (The water didn't stay cold for long.) Then we took them inside, got them a nap, and when they woke up we started the whole process over again.

They. Are. So. Tired.

It's actually wonderful--you haven't really been a parent until you've driven your offspring into exhaustion--go us!

Unfortunately, they are the only two offspring who are content. T feels that I am a slave driver because I don't just ask him to clean the kitchen, I ask him to clean it MULTIPLE TIMES IN THE SAME WEEK. And then I whine about small things, like floors that stick to my feet and the fact that the table top hasn't seen daylight in a month. Mostly, he seems to think that his siblings and I have arrived to cramp his style. How very 15 of him--I'm sort of relieved.

And poor Chicken--this one's so sad.

She's been looking forward to a trip to Great America (a theme park) for the last two months. She was all excited, she had told me a thousand times when she'd have to be dropped off and when she'd have to be picked up. It didn't matter.

Two hours before she was supposed to get up on Friday, she blew chunks all over the bathroom. I cleaned up, she jumped in the shower, jumped out, and blew chunks AGAIN. We both cleaned up (again!) and she went back to bed for an hour, woke up, and said, by golly, she was still going. She got as far as the steps on the bus before she burst into tears and said she couldn't do it. Called her dad (who had just walked in the door after dropping her off) and came home, where she slept all day. Since Ladybug had a similar incident the night before (which made that whole 'staying home with my foot propped' day feel a little more legit--I mean, I was in excruciating pain, but I still felt like a terrible fraud. If she hadn't been sleeping on me all day, I would have felt like a total waste of oxygen, and I try to save that epithet for those kids with the .05 GPA and the total lack of civilization, a super ego, or a forebrain.) Anyway, back to my heartbroken 8th grader who made the (very wise) decision not to get on that lunging, heaving, rocking land-locked slow-motion-ocean liner of a vehicle, do you know what she told me? She told me, "Now I know how you felt when you didn't get to see the Yarn Harlot." Poor baby--I imagine that she felt even worse. For one thing, I got to spend a wonderful day with my family. She got to spend a day sleeping and fighting the dry-heaves while her equally sick little sister whined all over her.

I mean, seriously, I'll take my trip to the zoo any day.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

To the people in the lunchroom: you know who you are, I know where you work.

First of all, for some vaguely depressing news that I sort of anticipated:

The book signing has been canceled because my books are self published and the company can't return them.

Like I said, I sort of suspected this might happen, but I REALLY wanted to believe that the little guy (or the XX-sized independently published woman) had a chance for a smidgen of success--alas, not to be. That's okay though--the lady at the bookstore (have I mentioned she was very nice with a tremendous smile?) is going to be selling my books by word of mouth--and they restocked my books at the store, so I did get something out of it. (I'm trying not to kick something and be snotty--and to be honest, my foot still hurts and the thought that I don't have stand up, even though my foot will have recovered by then, does sort of make me happy. But it would have been worth it. Trust me.)

Anyway, I'll live. I may even live through the foot thing. I like my doctor (now that I remember her) but she does have a way of minimizing the painful or life altering. (Not that this is life-altering.) Anyway, it was (as you all surmised) plantars fascaeitus (I have no idea how to spell it, but no combination of letters I set down is getting approval, so screw it), and I'm going to take another day off, keep my foot up, and honestly diet instead of hoping for the best. The worst thing is that I was told NOT to walk barefoot--not even in the house, and I think I may make Mate stop at the store for a pair of Crocs to wear around the house. They're not flip-flops and they're not tennishoes, socks, and the full sweaty-footed kit, either. Anyway, it hurts. I'm taking another day off and keeping my foot up, and maybe Fungus, god of podiatry will forgive me and let me walk like a human being.

And now, on to the title of the post.

I've been getting some a ration of (good natured, I can only hope) shit for my blogging in the lunch room--some rather disparaging remarks have been made about nicknaming the spawn of Lane for the purpose of my own amusement, and I thought that I might take this opportunity to remind the person who sends my blog posts around to the rest of the staff (we both know who you are!) that I don't just run a Morass of Weirdness, I'm also training an elite squad of anklebiters guaranteed to take you out, should your gentle, deprecating humor become just plain obnoxious.

First of all, let me introduce you to the Cave Troll.

Don't be fooled by the backwards Fireman's hat and the fact that he still insists on wearing a diaper when he wants to take a poop--he is not just bright, he is also cunning, wily, and has no qualms about inflicting copious physical harm on anyone who pisses him off. And if he likes you, he'll hang on your earlobes and kick you in the pork-sword as a sign of affection. Either way, he's not someone you want me to bring to work to introduce--he loves his mama. He'll attack on command. Hell--he'll attack on whim!

Next, we have our Secret Weapon. The Ladybug.

Oh yeah--she's cute--just look at those little panda glasses--aren't they cute? Aren't they adorable? ARen't they parrrrraaaalyzzzinggglyyyy sweet? Oh yeah--you've guessed it, that cuteness is terminal. Just when you think your heart is going to stop with the power of that charisma, she'll bite your ankle until you bleed to death.
And she loves her mama. Her cuteness radiates at all times, but she'll ankle-bite on command.

And here we have the eldest. Big T. T, you know, for TERMINATOR.

T has a deceptively sweet appearance--doesn't that kitty look comfortable, as though he's been there, I don't know, FOR AN ENTIRE SATURDAY, FROM EIGHT a.m. TO FOUR IN THE AFTERNOON? But there's more to T than his lazy exterior. Big T has two major weapons in his arsenal. The first is the random question when your attention is elsewhere--he can cause a brain bleed in two seconds flat by asking you some dumbass thing while your attention is on something entirely different. If he does it often enough, you'll be reduced to hurling books at his head while your face dissolves into a network of facial ticks vaguely reminiscent of the London Underground.
He's also a 6'3" blackbelt in karate. He can squash your nuts into oblivion before you realized that his metal smile cost more than three of my first cars.

And finally, the most deadly member of our team: Chicken.

Are we looking at this picture of Chicken closely, gentlemen? Are we looking at it REALLLLLY closely? Can we look beyond the casually dressed self-portrait of teen-angst into the glittering black depths of those fantastic, soulful eyes? Can we look into the heart of the awkward, bitter teenager and find the complete loathing for all members of the male gender who have ever dared to look at a pretty girl like her and found them wanting in some way? Can we see her complete desire to rip your flesh off, boil you in acid, and spread your remains with fermented turkey-shit over the salt-desert of Mars? Are you looking gentlemen? Are you? I don't know--if your testicles haven't dessicated into dust yet, then you aren't looking close enough.

So that's it--that's Spawn of Lane. I love them dearly and they'll protect me with sharp and pointy teeth. Be nice to me in the lunchroom, people. Remember, I've got a cracker-jack team of mama-defenders, at my beck and call.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Unfortunately, my foot's still attached to my ankle.

Okay--I seriously violated the 4F's of foot care--I'm Fat, over Forty, Flat-Footed, and on Mother's day, I wore Flip-Flops. In doing so, I must have seriously pissed off Fungus, the minor god of Podiatry, because I am in some serious, mojo-busting pain.

It has improved a little since yesterday--I'll give it that. Yesterday, after sitting at my desk, I moved my foot to stand up and address the students and my vision went white. I'll give it to you--that hasn't happened again today. No, today, I just had the Cave Troll running around the house singing "crap crap crap crap crap" because he heard me say it when I had to stand up. Unfortunately "crap crap crap crap" was better than what he was singing when I got him into the baby-sitters--I wonder how many kids are going to be running around singing "shit shit shit shit motherfucker sonovabitch holygods shit!" by the end of the day. (That could be an overstatement--all he was was chanting was "shit shit shit" but Dueant knows, that's only because the rest of it was too rushed for him to hear.)

The students (and my older kids) are amazingly nice about it. My older kids waited on me last night--and so did my husband. Actually, it was Mate, bless him, who got an ice-pack from the freezer--he does have some experience with running injuries. I'm embarrassed to say I didn't think about the ice pack part--must tell you, it was MAGIC! It was so magic, I woke up this morning thinking life was all better.

The gods laugh their asses off when we think shit like that, don't they?

Although, it was funny--the Juniors are doing a comparison/contrast of an old work with a new work, and one of the new works I just heard was from Lil Wayne--it has sort of a haunting refrain (and a disturbing message, but we'll skip my rant on that for a moment) but the refrain goes "Oh mommy, when the drugs go, I feel like dying."

Uhm. Yeah. Blessed tylenol. Cursed two tab limit!

And that's it. It's a drive by whining--sorry about that! I swear, tonight, I'll dredge up some pictures and just post them for the hell of it--no words, no whining, no neurosis--just cute pictures of my darlings Ladybug and Cave Troll. It's the blog post that can't go wrong.

And in the meantime, I'll leave you with this: Have you ever thought that you could order a diet cherry coke at a bar by calling it a 'skinny virgin'?

Oh. Really? Only me, I guess.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mum's day:-)

I had a good one--I got to sleep in... (the ginormous Jedi-knight battle going on in the living room didn't count. I wasn't called upon to officiate, so it really was considered 'sleeping in'. Besides, those were happy screams, and I can sleep through those.)

I got presents. (Supernatural, Season 1. Jensen...mmmm....)

We saw a movie. (Speed Racer--my first true love. It upset me to see Christina Ricci play Trixie to Emile Hirsch's 'Speed'. The age difference between the two of them is even greater than the age difference between me and Jensen. Hussy! I was also intrigued by Rex the younger... Scott Porter. He could play Torrant, I think, and I'm always looking out for that!)

And we drove our collective arses off--you think I'm kidding?

Citrus Heights to Roseville--movie.
Roseville to Ophir--Mate's mom and grandma.
Ophir to Loomis--my stepmom, who, by the way, did not approve of Bitter Moon AT ALL.
Loomis to Stockton blvd.--picking up Alexa, my mom.
Stockton blvd. to Fair Oaks--taking Alexa to see her mom, Grandma Olga.
Fair Oaks to Citrus Heights--home at last.
Except for Mate--he's taking Alexa back to Stockton blvd. and then coming home, because he's a good Mate and deserves to have his unmentionables massaged by the nubile young thing of his choice. Unfortunately, he's stuck with me. What I lack in nubility I make up for in enthusiasm and a respect for a middle-aged-man's need to be asleep by eleven thirty.

*whew* It's one of those days that makes me see tarmac in front of my eyes as I sleep--not to mention my ear drums are burst out from hearing the short lunatics having a screaming match at each other from their car seats because one of them wanted the Melman (a stuffed giraffe) and the other one wanted the Melman, but neither of them wanted the Ooh-Aah. Cursed short people--they were tired and hungry, but at least they made sure none of us got out of the car without the mandatory tick behind our eyes, right? But that's okay--it was mostly a good day. I feel like a good daughter/grand-daughter and a decent enough mum to get a card from each kid. (Kewyn's was especially precious--it featured a kid with nutsy-cukoo hair drinking from the milk bottle in front of an open fridge. The caption read "I don't have any clean underwear on either." I mean, could you FIND a card more like that kid?) All in all, worth the price of admission, you know?

And I got comments from Catie (who has been gone for school/work considerations, but I always love hearing from her) which is good. I didn't quite get to send out Allergic Mom's package--sorry darling--I'll try tomorrow--I may even go to the dreaded Kinkos in Natomas, but I warn you, those people are cursed and their store is cursed and their trucks have to go on the curvy road to hell before they get to their destination. But that's only 3 out of 10 times--maybe we'll get lucky!

And other than that? I'm going to go knit on something that's not my 3 travel socks, which, btw, all made good time today. Mate drove while I knit. He does that for me--have I mentioned he's a good Mate? Perhaps I should more often!


Friday, May 9, 2008

Enough of that Crap!

I could only let yesterday's self-indulgent angst-fest stay up for one day--sorry about that--I try to only do that every so often, and, it being Friday, I'm gonna blame it on my students. Sometimes self-involved whining just spreads--I'll try to take my immunity boosters of cynicism and self-awareness on a regular basis to try to keep it from happening again anytime soon.

Anyway, work sucks right now--it's a student thing and I may go into it later, but I want to make up for yesterday so I won't do it right now. Right now, I'm going to try to entertain you with my offspring--since they so very often entertain me!

***About three days ago the Cave Troll noticed a dying worm on the sidewalk outside of the babysitters. I like worms, so I got out a cup, let him scrap the worm to the grass, and sprinkled a little water on him to revive him. The next day, the worm was gone--I assume he's eating dirt and shitting loam, which is what worms do, right? But last night, the Cave Troll indicated some dissatisfaction with the whole incident. I had made him SCRAPE the worm home. The Cave Troll wanted some hands on interaction with the little beastie, so he was complaining last night about not getting to pick up the worm himself. Apparently this really bothered him, because we got our dark-thirty angst alarm from the Cave Troll last night, as he was sleeping in our bed. Suddenly he started crying--and crying out: "Moooooom ... I wanna touch the WOOOORRRM...."

I don't even want to think about how Freudian that is, nope nope nope...EWWWWW!!!

***I dropped Ladybug off at daycare wearing the following: Gray sweats with blue and yellow flowers, a yellow T-Shirt, a gray sweatshirt with pink and yellow hearts, a pink lame skirt over the sweats, and a red and blue Spiderman mask. I had to talk her out of wearing two different shoes. Add it all up, and I don't know what it equals, but I wish I'd had the camera.

*** Big T told me yesterday that he's all three of the Montagues--Romeo, because he gets crushes, Mercutio, because sometimes he can't stop talking, and Benvolio, because he's a good friend. I love that kid!

***We ran out of toilet paper yesterday--and we never run out of toilet paper. So, while I was schlepping Chicken to the mall to try to find 'local' presents for her host families when she goes overseas, we get a phone call from Mate, saying something about my son, stranded on the commode. I told Chicken, who had the cell phone, to tell her dad that I left a a big box of Kleenex on the bed to tide everybody over. She laughed for twenty minutes. I don't know why she did that, but it was nice to be of amusement to my offspring as they are to me.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

An odd source of tension...

Okay--usually my inner world is more exciting than this.

Usually, my brain is sort of pinging from moment to moment and place to place--music, television, movies, books--you name it, I'm thinking about it and, hoocha hoocha hoocha--lobster! (For those of you who don't follow Eddie Izzard, I just mangled a truly great bit there. Really. It was hilarious. I swear.)

But all I can think about right now are my numbers. With the exception of Bitter Moon I (*sigh*) they are absurdly high.

Now my first reaction is, of course, a sort of anxious glee. SOMEONE is reading my book--will they like it? Will the editing bother them? Will Cory's swearing put them off? I keep waiting from someone on the right-wing-morality brigade to ring me up and threaten to egg my house because of the sex in the Little Goddess books, and I've even gotten pinged on reviews for it, and I do not want to offend anyone who thought they were buying Hi-lites for Children and got Playboy instead.

But the numbers have been high--as in two or three copies of Vulnerable a day--for an entire week now, and my anxiety is bubbling down to a sort of nauseated terror--you know, like a bad steak in a bottle of lab-acid.

Somebody is going to review my book. Several somebodies. I know it's coming. And, because the books are not neutral territory, and because a lot of kind people have been comparing me favorably to Stephanie Meyer and it's going to be a let down that I'm very very different, some of those somebodies are going to review me badly.

I've done this before--a lot of you read the post "Virginity is Overrated" and bolstered me up then. I've gotten a couple of negative reviews since. (Okay, that was vague. The truth is that I'm narcissistic and neurotic enough to spit up my stats from worst review to best review at any given moment at any given day, but I try not to bore people to tears's sort of a goal of mine as a blogger.) But what's coming is going to be bigger than that--both bigger bad and bigger good, and all I can see of it now is a sort of vague pressure, like a psychic knowing about an avalanche, but not knowing when to duck.

I really hope people like it. I REALLY REALLY REALLY hope people like it. And, after they like it, I hope they're willing to wait until this time next year for the next one. And it would be really cool if they read Bitter Moon I (not NEARLY as much sex and swearing in that one, I promise!)

But mostly, even if they don't like it, and even if they want to voice their opinion about it, I hope they do it nicely. I keep waiting for the review title of "Complete Moron Writes a Crappy Book--Somebody Alert the News!" Just because it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it's not coming!

So that's it--kids have come and gone, my Juniors and Seniors have managed to foul up two completely relevant, decent projects that they had three weeks and class time to work on, my children have done very cute things (Dad walked in yesterday and the Cave Troll ran up to him and said, "Dad, you have to do your job!!! There's DOG POOP in the back yard and YOU have to pick it up!" And Ladybug--in the bath for, I would imagine, obvious and odorific reasons-- spoke up. "Dad pick up the POOP!!!" I'm sure dad was very tempted to turn around and go back to work, where the words "Dog Poop" are never mentioned in terms of things he must do.) and my older children have been a source of annoyance and affection and I've had some great times at the lunch room at work but...

The one thing (besides the plot for BMoonII) buzzing around my brain pan is the one thing I shouldn't be obsessing about, the one thing I can not change or help, and the one thing that, truly, doesn't make a damn bit of difference in my life.

It really is an odd source of tension.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Low Tech, High Drama

I know some of you all can do the random number generator (ahem, Julie!) but I went low tech, printed out your comments, ripped them into separate slips with your names on them, folded them into little pieces, and had the Cave Troll fish one out of a shoe box. The Cave Troll was thrilled--he got to help! And allergicmom, you should be thrilled too, because you won!!!!!

Go ahead and e-mail me at amylaneATgreenshillDOTcom, and I can get your address to send you a big box of... well, It'll probably have the Noro (which inspired a literal feeding frenzy!), and possibly have books, and maybe some more fun stuff thrown in for color, and you can bet I'll have fun assembling all that! (As I was reading the comments and ripping up the slips, I actually got a little thought bubble for pretty much everybody--it was fun. It was like practicing giving gifts--I totally enjoyed myself.)

And about the book signing--

As far as I know, it will be from 12:30--2:00 at the Borders Express in the Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, CA. I do plan to call Susan, the nice lady (manager!) at the store to confirm. (I have a secret fear that she'll realize I'm self-published and have to cancel, in which case I know you'll all help me dry my tears and buck up.) The inestimable Lady in Red asked if I get to talk--Lordy, I'd love to, but most of the book signings I've seen feature the author sitting sedately, in a dignified manner, behind a table stacked with books. I'm thinking I might not be that sedate--I tend to stand up and bob and weave a lot, and I am used to talking to crowds, so hopefully I won't let nerves color the true me. Hopefully, it'll really happen.

Drop me a line, allergicmom--I'm looking forward to shipping that out!

Bad blogger...bad...


Wow. I"m so blown away by how many comments I got--I mean, I know some of you get 20+ every day, but, GEES... for me that's big mojo! (Of course the free stuff had a lot to do with it!)

Anyway, the reason I'm a baaaaaad blogger is that I didn't put a closing date on the contest! I mean, can we sing six choruses of "I'm a dork..." Same, verse, same as the first? (I'm a dork I'm a dork I'm a big fat dork, I'm a dork I'm a dork, I'm a lame-o dork...)

So I figured that when I get home tonight, I'll print out the list of glorious folks who dropped in to say 'HI', cut up the list into little folded up squares of paper, and have Chicken fish them out of a hat. Some of your requests I can do no problem--Jean, I'll definitely donate a copy of Bitter Moon I (and II when it comes out) to the Natomas Public Library. Roxie, Chicken was so tickled by your request for some Chicken art, that she's gonna make you a picture just because. Everybody else, I'll announce the winners with my next blog--and if you haven't gotten your comment in yet, you've got until tonight (Tuesday!!!)

And other than that?

I went home yesterday and tipped my head back for a catnap...and woke up three hours later. It's a good thing Mate was there, or the grunion would have run around like, well, grunion! I have no idea why I was so tired (well, a small idea) but I don't usually let it just take over me like that. *Chah...* Felt good!

And this morning Mate and I amused each other mightily.

Big T was running around like a 6'3" headless chicken, freaking out because he couldn't find his homework, and he missed the bus. I told him to calm down, Dad could get him to school, and that it would be cool.

I went in and reported the news to Mate, telling him, "It's a good thing your car seats four--you're gonna need another spot for Big T's massive angst!"

To which Mate replied, "It actually seats five--we need a spot for Chicken's insecurities as well."

Ah, parenthood.

And as for the short people? Ladybug climbed into bed at 4 a.m. this morning whining about took me several moments of mumbling at her idiotically to figure out she was saying "He'p me...he'p me..." Her diaper had come off while she slept and she needed a new one.

She just turned two last month--this is the closest to potty trained any of them have been when they were AGE 3. I'm not bright, but this one's terrifyingly smart. *shudder*

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Irritation, mortification, & vindication

It started with the irritation--which was actually unfounded on my part, but it looked good in the title.

I was dropping off books at The Almost Perfect Bookstore (one of a couple of places you can find me in the wild) and I mentioned to Kelley that there was a discussion going on in which a kind reader compared me (favorably!) to Stephanie Meyer .

"That's a stretch!" She snorted, and for a moment, I was a little irritated. I mean, I'm not best selling, but I'm not *that* bad, am I? And then I started talking to the guy at the counter, who is a 10 on the preternaturally cool scale and I sort of figured out that she meant that my books had lots of, uhm, sex. And Meyer's have none at all. So, the irritation went away, but the memory of thinking maybe a little much of myself did not.

My next stop was the mall, with Big T--he was in search of shoes--and we passed the Borders Express that carries my books in it on the way through to the shoe store. I'm not entirely a good mama, so I tried to ditch him at Famous Footwear next door, but he wasn't going.

"You know this is stupid, don't you?" I said to him, laughing. "I'm just here for my own dumb ego..."

"Can I help you?" Asked the nice woman at the store, as I was scanning 'romance' for my title.

"I'm good," I replied, grimacing. "I'm just here as an exercise in vanity that's going to result in a bruised ego."

"Oh, hey--are you a writer, looking for a book?" She had a great smile, by the way.

"Yeah," I replied. I was about to say, "But I"m self-published, so I doubt you'd carry me," when she said, (this is the good part!) "Hey--are you Amy Lane?"

"Uhm, yeah!" (Holy Cat, Brapsman--she knows who I am?)

"I really loved your first book--I'm ordering your second and your third. Would you like to do a signing? Here, let's set you up with a book signing...would June 14th be okay?"

And THAT'S the great part. That's the really really really really really REALLY great part--and now, we really will need that fork-lift and back-hoe to get my ego out of the front door. (squee. Squeeeeeeeee. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!! hee hee hee hee hee hee hee...*whew* Okay, now that that's out of my system...)

And then we went into Famous Footwear and I totally embarrassed myself.

There was a very nice young man, sitting with his three children hanging over him, and I looked at him, and recognized him, and then blanked completely on his name. Student? I thought in a panic, and then I said, helplessly, "Name?"

He was a teacher. We've worked together for six years. I'm SUCH an idiot. I have two things in my defense though--one, I was riding the high of getting my first book signing just handed to me on a silver platter for being visible (the nice woman followed me on the discussion I'm all thinking about anything I've said that might be embarrassing...CURSE YOU, INTERNET!!!). The other thing is that he was casually dressed with a visor on and looked happy and young.

I mean, how many of us ever look that happy and that young when we're teaching where we teach? Seriously--that alone might have blown it for me, but he was so totally out of context--here I was in book/kid/mall-land, and I was so not expecting anyone from work--but he was very sweet about it. And very cute with his kids, too--it was fun to see.

And that's my post--almost.

This is, (drum roll please!!!) my 400th post. Blessed Merino, patron saint of wool--can you believe that funky bullshit? Anyway, I'm finally going to run a contest. It's sort of a 'raid my stash' contest, but I want to make it stash for anyone--book people, knitting people, whoever--so I figured what I'd do is have you guys leave a comment (anyone who leaves a comment is eligible) but have you name your poison. Do you want books? The new book? The first three books? Some hand-painted sock yarn? Self-striping sock yarn? Do you have a favorite brand? Favorite color? If I have it and I draw your name, it's yours! Some al paca dk? Self-striping worsted in shades of green? I've got a shit-load of black Noro silverthorne that I haven't used...Just name your poison, the yarn/thing you'd like best from my stash or published works, and in addition to any freaky/cool thing I want to throw in the box, if I draw your name, that's what's gonna get sent. It'll be fun, too--we can see what you covet, and that's always fun to know. (I just got a super-cool buzz from making a friend a pair of socks in a color that I personally am not all that thrilled about, but whenever I look at it, I hear her say, 'That's really pretty yarn'. I fully expect to get the same kind of buzz by sending something cool to someone here!!!) So, anything you think I might have that I might be willing to part with--throw it out, and if I draw your name (and it's not one of my kids!) it's very possibly yours.

I'm hoping to get some lurkers in the comments too--that would be a lot of fun! So go ahead, folks--name your poison! And happy blog-o-versary to me;-)

Saturday, May 3, 2008


There's this song by Bowling for Soup called 'Almost'--some of the lines are pretty great:

I almost got drunk at school at thirteen
And I almost got lucky with the homecoming queen
Who almost went off to be Miss Texas
But she lost with a slut with much bigger breast-as
And I al-most had you...

But we'll get back to that.

Anyway, today we were going to the Maker Faire in San Mateo--it's about 120 miles away, and we gave ourselves 2 1/2 hours. It could have been something that just Chicken and I did--and then we would have left at 7:30, and given ourself 3 1/2 hours, but it looked like a lot of fun could be had by all, so Mate and I packed most of the famn damily (T stayed at home), and left at 8:30 instead.

Now, the event that I most wanted to attend was at 11:00 am, but there was another event at 12:00 a.m. that would have made up for it if we'd missed the first one--and we were going to make it! We were--we were 5 minutes away from the San Mateo fair grounds at 10:40 am... and that's when traffic ground to a halt and our car didn't move for 45 minutes.

The short people went insane. We were just sitting there. On the freeway. "Move move move!!!" Both of them, shouting and screaming and losing their little baby nuts because, damn it, they'd been in the fucking car for 2 1/2 going on 3 hours and...and...

And I had to reassess my obsession.

Now, considering how very badly I wanted to attend that event, my next words to Mate were pretty fucking heroic: "So, uhm, do you just want to cut our losses, get out of this mess and find the off-ramp to turn around and go to the San Francisco Zoo?"

And so we did. It took us about 15 minutes to get to the zoo--and once we told the short people where we were going, there was a lot of laughing instead of screeching, so that was good. It was worth it. It was worth it when we had to buy defective diapers at two bucks a pop (that's two bucks A DIAPER) because we forgot the change of clothes backpack at home, and it was worth it when Mate kept getting us lost on the quest for the tiger cage. (The Cave Troll distinguished himself in "Woman of the House" bitchiness here--"DAAAA--AAAAD... You got us lost a-GAIN, and now we have to find ANOTHER MAP!!!" The little man nags better than I ever have, I assure you!) It was worth it when Ladybug insisted on riding on our shoulders (have I mentioned I have neck problems on occasion? OU-UCH.) It was worth it when the Cave Troll dragged me into the umpteenth souvenir shop, looking for THE perfect stuffed toy. It was especially worth it when our lovely and materialistic little Chicken proclaimed rather sententiously that "We're going to have to fix him, mom, he's totally obsessed with toys!" (Mate and I almost wet ourselves laughing at that one!) And, it was worth it when we took them to a strangely still and silent black beach and threw abnormally shiny rocks into a sterile ocean. (Oil spill about six months ago...there were no birds, and it was horror-movie creepy that way, but the kids didn't notice and they had a good time.) It was worth it when we got Ladybug an Ooh-Ahh (stuffed monkey--and yes, she really calls them that and it's so cute that we'd all go without meals just to give her a damned stuff monkey and have her call it an Ooh-Ahh!) and she played with it while sitting on Chicken's shoulders, and I said, "Look--you've got two monkeys in your hair!"

It was even worth it as we tooled around the city--the Polk Street Market, specifically, which was a tremendous experience in eclectic people watching , and then the Embarcadero which had a cruise ship as big as a city in the dock, which was also tremendous-- looking for the freeway, with mom hoping to find some random yarn store to make up for the event that she missed.

Alas, it was not to be, but then, we probably almost passed one and didn't see it.

So all in all, it was a really good day, and probably worth all the 'almosts' on the planet. Still, and as much fun as we had, I can't deny, I'm a little depressed we didn't end up at the Maker Faire. I wonder if my unwillingness to sacrifice my family's happiness isn't some sort of defect in me, you know? I mean, if I can't make them sacrifice a little for this one thing that I've coveted for three years, how am I supposed to be a driven artist? How am I supposed to spill the blood that's going to get me into mainstream publishing? How am I supposed to be a strong, badly behaved woman? (Because the well-behaved ones don't make history, right?)

I don't know. I know I had a good time, and I wouldn't change this day for anything.

And I also know that I really wanted to go.

You all know what event I 'almost' got to see, don't you?

Yeah. I thought you did.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Why It's Good to Train Them Early...

When the teenagers were very young, for about a year and a half, we lived on my husband's grandmother's property. There were all sorts of sucky things about the arrangement, and one of them was the house itself--only 1/4 of it sat on a foundation--if you dropped a baby bottle on one side, you'd find it in another room because the floors looked like an acid dream during a midnight showing of The Who's movie Tommy. None of the doors hung plumb, and the house sat on 6 1/2 acres of fucking wilderness, so you never knew what would roll in on the frickin' old carpet.

One day, when Chicken was about six months old and just learning to sit up, it was a tomato worm.

I was sitting next to her on the floor, dozing, because Big T had us both up at dark-thirty a.m., and I looked at her smiling face, and there was a tomato worm (ugly, green, crawly, fat and squooshy grub of my nightmares tomato-fucking-worm!!!) dangling out of my baby's mouth.

I screamed and swatted it away, and then screeched for Mate over the sound of her confused wails. (She was just sitting there and then mama started screaming and SLAPPED her--of course she was crying!!!).

"MATE! GET YOUR ASS OUT HERE AND HELP ME!!!!" (Because I was damned if I was going to pick it up, right?)

Mate's response? And this is very very very important to the rest of the post: "I don't do vomit."

My response was, "Get your ass out here or I'm gonna vomit!!!!" but that is immaterial.

What is material is that there are two things that Mate doesn't deal with in our house--one is spiders, and the other is vomit.

Now, Mate was not always the model Mate he is now. For the first two children, getting the baby was, 90% of the time, MY JOB. I had the breasts--I had the a.m. wake-up calls. This was not really because Mate was insensitive to my need for sleep, either, and certainly not because he didn't want to help--it was mostly because if the task called for waking up between 12:00 and 6:00 a.m., Mate was out. Wasn't gonna do it. Completely unconcious. Nada. Zip. Zero. No dogs, no lights, nothing but a loud snore and a grunt.

Baby 3 ran a clockwork schedule and slept for six hours--he was easy. Baby 4 woke up randomly, and sometimes just for play. I started kicking (sometimes literally) Mate out of bed and making him go sit with her, and Mate started taking his 'get up with the baby' responsibilities a little more seriously.

This morning, it paid off for him in a huge way.

This morning, the Cave Troll sat up in OUR bed and said, "I don't feel good."

Then he barfed. Three times.

Mate, who, heretofore, would have woken up barfed upon, was down the hall before the first splatter hit the pillow.

I sat up and cleaned the Cave Troll off and stripped the bed and got the poor stuffed tiger ready for the wash (while the now much better Cave Troll apologized--"I"m sorry I barfed your room mom. I"m sorry I barfed my tiger, mom." Yes, it did make it all better, why do you ask?) and Mate tried twice to come in and help me. Both times he put his hand over his mouth and ran back to the living room before we would all be sorry.

But I'm betting he's not sorry I taught him how to get his ass out of bed before the alarm rings, is he?